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You’re about to get not 1, but 3 new stimulus checks – here’s what you need to know

Published Mar 11th, 2021 3:10PM EST
Stimulus check update
Image: Jason Raff/Adobe

On Thursday afternoon, President Biden finally signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill he proposed to Congress shortly after taking office in January, packed with benefits that includes $1,400 stimulus checks, $25 billion for rental assistance, $14 billion for COVID vaccine distribution, and much more. According to the White House, the first stimulus checks could start showing up as direct deposits in bank accounts as soon as this weekend.

The bill, not to put too fine a point on it, is a mammoth piece of legislation, representing the biggest expansion of the social safety net in a generation and a massive, government-funded expansion of the war on poverty — to say nothing of its expensive response to the coronavirus pandemic, in the form of everything from direct relief payments to Americans to more money for vaccination efforts. Below, we’ll answer some common questions about the bill and the stimulus payments, while also pointing out one important stimulus check update that many people might not realize: The new stimulus law actually includes not one, not two, but three direct payments to Americans that can be described as “stimulus checks.” Let’s break it all down.

First, let’s take a look at some of the big questions associated with President Biden’s stimulus bill, a major domestic victory that his first term will be dominated by:

Who will receive a $1,400 stimulus check? According to an estimate from President Biden himself via his official Twitter account in recent days, some 85 million Americans will receive a $1,400 stimulus check. This is the third time, by the way, since the start of the pandemic that the federal government will be sending out direct stimulus payments to Americans.

When will you get your check? According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, direct payments could start hitting bank accounts as early as this weekend (March 12th-14th). Direct deposits will arrive first, followed by paper checks and debit cards that will be sent in the mail.

Will you get the full amount — or even any check at all? Here’s an easy way to check how big your stimulus check will be. Use this online calculator that will take a few pieces of personal information that you share, such as your tax filing status and adjusted gross income, to provide an estimated amount that you can expect to receive with this new direct payment from the government.

How will you receive your check? The IRS is prioritizing people who already have their bank details on file, meaning most people should get their payment as an electronic deposit. Everyone else will have to wait for a paper check to arrive in the mail.

Will you have to pay taxes on this money? Nope!

How will the IRS determine how much money you get? The tax agency will look at the most recent tax return it has on file for you, either for 2019 or 2020 if you’ve already filed the one that’s due in April.

Additionally, as we alluded to above, while there’s been a flood of attention given to the fact that new $1,400 stimulus checks are coming, Biden’s stimulus bill actually makes additional payments possible that you can likewise describe as stimulus checks. For example, expanded jobless aid. The stimulus bill will provide extra federal jobless aid for unemployed workers at a rate of $300/week through September 6. There’s a second “stimulus” check.

Also, an expanded child tax credit included in this bill will actually be worth more than the $1,400 stimulus checks. As we noted here, parents are eligible to receive an additional $3,600 as part of this tax credit for children up to age 6 — or, if their children are older, they’d get $3,000 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17. This payment would be disbursed monthly, making this yet another stimulus check.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.